Ma ready for practice debut

Autosport

HRT driver Ma Qing Hua is confident that he is ready to take part in a live session on a Grand Prix weekend ahead of his debut as a Friday driver at Monza tomorrow.

The Chinese driver, 24, has a very limited record in European single-seaters, including sporadic outings in Superleague Formula, British and Spanish F3, A1GP, Italian F3000 and Formula Renault and was granted a Superlicence as a result of mileage completed during the Silverstone young driver test.

But despite his inexperience, he insists he is ready for the task after testing an F1 car for the first time in July.

"In the past two months we have been training a lot on the physical side and on the driving side," said Ma when asked by AUTOSPORT whether he was confident he would not get in the way of the regular drivers.

"Also, we've done some testing in a World Series by Renault car and also a GP2 car to give myself more experience.

"The team has [prepared me] for lots of different things on the driving side. I've completed all of the challenges that the team gave to me.

"We are quite comfortable with my driving and the team is happy with my performance. That's why I'm here. We have prepared everything well for FP1."

Ma, who will take over Narain Karthikeyan's car, is focusing on building his experience during tomorrow's session.

He will become the first Chinese driver to take part in an official F1 session on a grand prix weekend.

"The main target is for me to gain more kilometres in an F1 car.

"Because of my experience, I want to do as many laps as I can in the car to gain feeling at the different circuit.

"It's a very important step not only for me, but for my country and for Chinese sport."

He added that he is unsure of any further plans to drive the car next year.

"We are focused on doing a good job on this Friday and we will see for the future," he said.

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